What's The Difference Between Shincha And Sencha?
All shincha is sencha, not all sencha is shincha. What's the difference?
Normally sencha green tea is harvested 3 or 4 times per year, the first harvest being the best. Out of that first harvest, the majority is put into cold storage where it can be pulled throughout the year as needed. You can indeed have first harvest, fresh sencha throught the year provided it's pulled from refrigeration and has been recently packaged.
There's a portion of that first harvest which never goes into storage and which is put up for immediate sale - that's is known as shincha.
Is shincha better than first harvest sencha?
Not necessarily. It's true, there's not fresher green tea than shincha. The cold storage process does change the charachteristics of the tea somewhat. In some cases for the better, in some cases not. Shincha tends to be bolder, regular first harvest sencha mellows out a bit during the storage process. We can't say one is "better" than another. We can say that legions of customers want shincha as soon as it comes out to enjoy the freshest of the fresh sencha green tea.
When is Shincha available?
It's available from harvest in late April through usually June, as supplies permit. Quite often the tea we are selling in June is actually shincha though not labelled as such.
(FAQ's continued at bottom of page below the products)
Shincha green teas are released one by one. To be notified by email the moment any of the following shincha come into stock, navigate to the product and click on the "Notify Me When Back In Stock" button.
What about "shincha" gyokuro and matcha?
Shade grown gyokuro and matcha leaf is usually harvested in May just like regular first harvest sencha. However, the normal procedure is to age the leaf of these products for a few months for optimum taste. This is why they are normally released of these teas occur in the fall and not spring. Although you can enjoy them earlier, until they are aged properly they will have a somewhat "green" taste to them. Further, during the summer the current year's gyokuro is often blended with the previous year's leaf when supplies or the previous year's tea are in low supply and won't last until fall. There is nothing wrong with these teas, even though they are not at their peak quality. However, they are not really "shincha".
It is the policy of O-Cha.com to not market "shincha matcha", "shincha gyokuro", or especially "shincha bancha" (a second or third harvest tea).